First Impression of CIEE Orientation
For me, I would say it was a bit intimidating to walk into a large hotel with just a name and direction. Finding the CIEE, check in desk helped to get a list of events for the upcoming days ahead. You will receive a small gift of a tote bag with the CIEE logo, nametag, and a hand fan with the CIEE logo. (This item is my personal favorite item and an essential for Madrid).
The first day started quite early. Everyone had to travel from hotel Chamartin The One, to Santo Domingo in downtown Gran Via. For me, I left extra early so I could be able to find my way on the metro and get a card for 10 trips. I must say getting a metro card wasn’t difficult. However it was rather difficult to get around with an unlocked iphone. I had to take screenshots of my destination on google maps. So unlock your phone beforehand. Arriving at the venue was a bit difficult but I got there in the nick of time. The first presentation was filled with various pieces of information about the job title. Each presentation is found online on your CIEE page where your pre-departure course is. The first presentations were about finding housing, cultural differences, and where to find housing in Madrid or the assigned city.
I would say day two was a bit more overwhelming and filled with more paperwork to follow. From day one, you are introduced to current CIEE Auxiliares. Most of the presentation were about your duties as an auxiliares, documentation, the do’s and don’t of being an auxiliar. I would say its most overwhelming section was documentation. As each document needs an appointment the website was filled with current newbies. The current auxiliares are able to help provide their own advice about the program and share their own experiences. I found a friend on the way back to the hotel to grab some lunch, which was two hours. The two hour lunch time is very uncommon as opposed to a regular thirty minute lunch back in the United States.
Day 3 & Day 4
As soon as we walked into orientation, we were able to take some time off to begin setting up our spanish bank accounts. During our free morning opening my bank account was my mission to complete and working on my documents for the TIE appointment ahead. After we were able to play a spanish game to help with assimilation to the culture. Following orientation, we were treated to a farewell dinner with all of our fellow aux’s and each orientation leader. Each person was given two drink vouchers and snacks. After the dinner was over, I headed back to the hotel and began packing my things to check out at 11 AM. It was off to my Air B&B until I found an apartment. Finding housing can be difficult and it is helpful to begin touring places, right after orientation week.
What do you miss the most while being abroad? Most people say peanut butter, flu medicine, or pancakes. The thing I miss the most while being overseas are my dogs! This blog post is how I try to see the positives while missing my furry friends back in the states, and making some new ones here in Spain!